Piet Retief- President Jacob Zuma has urged emerging farmers in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga, to use their farms to create jobs and alleviate poverty.
He was speaking on Sunday at the launch of the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative in the Mkhondo local municipality.
"If you stand firm and make sure that these projects don't fail in your hands, poverty can be alleviated and job creation can be high," he said.
He told community members that through agricultural projects initiated in the area, people could get jobs and poverty could be alleviated.
"We need to wake up and do things ourselves. Government is here to help you. People must not rely on (social) grants for a living when they have land," said Zuma.
Zuma co-founded the nationwide initiative with businessman Daebo Mzobe in KwaZulu-Natal.
On Sunday, he visited various agricultural projects that fall under the initiative around Piet Retief, handed over five houses, and also handed over the newly built Ezakheni Combined Boarding School, in Donkerhoek. The school will accommodate children from child headed families.
Zuma was accompanied by Public Enterprises Minister, Malusi Gigaba, Public Works Minister, Thulas Nxesi, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and provincial MECs.
He promised that offices of the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative would be built in Mpumalanga soon.
"We have taken a resolution to build offices here in Mpumalanga, where Mpumalanga people can access them easily. We want people, including businessmen, to volunteer and boost projects in their communities," said Zuma.
"We do not want the community to buy food from supermarkets, but let supermarkets buy from them."
Meanwhile, a recipient of one of the five houses at eThandakukhanya, Nelisiwe Mbokazi, 37, who cares for 10 children, including six of her own, couldn't hide her joy when she stepped into the solar-powered house.
"This is something I will never forget in my life. I've been staying in a shack all my life, but having Zuma give me this house has changed all our lives," she said. Mbokazi's house was fully-furnished.
Gigaba told the community that his department would spend R1 million electrifying 63 houses in eThandakukhanya township.
He said R300 000 would also be spent electrifying agricultural projects that have been initiated in the area to boost their irrigation.
"All the aforesaid help, especially the electrification of the houses, will start this week," said Gigaba.
Mabuza promised that his administration would support the Masibambisane famers by buying food from them.
"We will make sure that to sustain these projects, as government, we will buy food and vegetables for schools, hospitals and other government institutions. We will also help process them," said Mabuza.